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Old 11-28-2014, 09:08 AM   #1
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1995 34' Excella
Bellbrook , Ohio
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New 1995 Excellla 34' front kitchen owner

Just wanted to say Hi. I have just acquired our next vacation on wheels. I am new to the Airstream community, but not new to camping in general. I first had a 1984 SOB 34'. I then bought a 2009 SOB 36' with 2 slideouts, but it was proving to be a real "SOB" in another way. The quality just wasn't there. I knew that keeping it long term was not an option. I had been researching getting a 34' Airstream, but hadn't found any affordable or even in Ohio. I just happened to drive by a storage lot, 10 miles from home, that had a 1995 with a for sale sign. It wasn't advertised anywhere. I would say that was fate. The owner was currently in Hospice, and it was being sold by his son. I just had to convince my wife to buy it, as I still had the 1984 and 2009 still at home. I cleaned up the 84 and posted it for sale, and then was able to rescue the Excellla from the storage lot. It will need a little work, starting with replacing the sagging padded ceiling. I am also going to replace the big closet and China cabinet thing with a couple of bunk beds. The exterior will need some of the stripes replaced. All four of the awnings though look new. I will be using the knowledge collected here at this site for help along the way. So "thank you" in advance.
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Old 11-28-2014, 11:37 AM   #2
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Good catch. I have camped with some people with a front kitchen and I really like that layout. The awnings on these trailers hold up really well. You did well.
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Old 11-28-2014, 12:09 PM   #3
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Welcome to the Forums, and welcome to the world of '34'. You can't go wrong.
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Old 11-28-2014, 03:14 PM   #4
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Welcome! We are considering on trading up to a 34' (from 30), so am jealous.

I looked at your posted pictures. Looks like a fine trailer that needs a bit of TLC.

What in the world is that tow vehicle you have?? We tow with an extended van (Chevy), but your Ford looks to be a cross between a pickup truck and a van... ??

Regards,
David
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Old 11-28-2014, 03:59 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by 10Smiles View Post
What in the world is that tow vehicle you have?? We tow with an extended van (Chevy), but your Ford looks to be a cross between a pickup truck and a van... ??
From the looks of the front wheels, maybe it's an E350 extended van?
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Old 11-28-2014, 07:51 PM   #6
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1995 34' Excella
Bellbrook , Ohio
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I have a 2003 E450 that started out as a retired ambulance chassis. It only had the front cab, as they removed the box to reuse. I then obtained an extended E350 15 passenger van to donate the body and added it to the back of the cab. The E450 chassis has a 20" longer wheelbase, so I had to cut across the roof, floor, and down both front doors of the donor van to stretch it. So what looks like half doors behind the front doors, are what used to be the front doors of the donor van. My reason for doing all of that, I was able to build a Powerstroke diesel passenger van for about $3000, cheaper than I could find one. Also, it has a GVWR of 14,500 lb and has no problem towing. I have never used a weight distributing hitch. It is actually a dually, and I'll put on the outer rear wheels when I get the rear fenders from a 1950 Ford F1 mounted. Thanks for welcoming me.
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Old 11-28-2014, 08:40 PM   #7
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Ah, now it becomes clear when I take your description and add it to the pictures! It's an amazing fabrication job on your part.

Have you had time to locate the possible roof leak source that would explain the ceiling problems? Having never seen one myself, how will you go about fixing the "padded" ceiling? Have you found any more damage from the leak(s)?
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Old 11-28-2014, 08:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrdually350 View Post
I have a 2003 E450 that started out as a retired ambulance chassis. It only had the front cab, as they removed the box to reuse. I then obtained an extended E350 15 passenger van to donate the body and added it to the back of the cab. The E450 chassis has a 20" longer wheelbase, so I had to cut across the roof, floor, and down both front doors of the donor van to stretch it. So what looks like half doors behind the front doors, are what used to be the front doors of the donor van. My reason for doing all of that, I was able to build a Powerstroke diesel passenger van for about $3000, cheaper than I could find one. Also, it has a GVWR of 14,500 lb and has no problem towing. I have never used a weight distributing hitch. It is actually a dually, and I'll put on the outer rear wheels when I get the rear fenders from a 1950 Ford F1 mounted. Thanks for welcoming me.
Wow. That is a lot of work. Do those half-doors open (I suspect not)? If you can do that, you will have no problem making the 'stream exactly what you want.

Personal question that you can answer is you want... Do you have a bunch of kids (so you need a big van)? I only ask because that's why we tow with a van, we have eight kids. They are getting older now (early teens to mid-20's), so a lot of the time it is just me and my wife on our campouts (or get-aways as we call them).
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Old 11-28-2014, 09:25 PM   #9
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Randolph , Vermont
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Yeah, a dually F350 7.3 diesel makes an awesome tow vehicle for a 34 footer. Fulltimed for 10 years using the Ford F-350 dually and never had a towing problem. Have a Reese WD hitch with 1000 pound bars and that may be overkill. We do not use any sway control at all as averaged 12.5 mpg when towing.

1994 was the first year that AS used the flatter roof profile and the tilted cabinet fronts. Ours is a '93 and still the old profile. Believe the '94 was when they started with the padded ceilings and whatever they were using for spray adhesive did not hold up especially in hot climates and high roof and ceiling temperatures. Your ceiling problem is not necessarily from a water leak but more likely from adhesive failure. Have seen various solutions including large plastic washer riveted to the ceiling to hold the padding in place. Also have seen plastic strips flexed across the ceiling from side to side holding the padding up as well. Another solution is to remove the padding and roll on paint after cleaning off the adhesive.

And with proper cleaning, the awnings seem to last forever. Ours are original and still in good shape although I've had to restitch a lot of the seams. Fabric is fine but the stitching is rotting out.

Good luck and enjoy. Think you've found a good buy.
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Old 11-28-2014, 10:06 PM   #10
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1994 was the first year that AS used the flatter roof profile and the tilted cabinet fronts.
As a vintage kin owner, I don't mean this as a jab to AS by any means....
That 1994 AS has a roofline and tilted cabinet fronts like those in our 1987 Avion. I like them a lot, and they are very functional. The flatter roofline allows for more space in those cabinets.

We really like our 34' Avion. I know you'll like the additional space. I imagine yours tows as nicely, too. I bet you made a great deal.
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Old 11-28-2014, 11:11 PM   #11
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Yeah, the padded ceiling is just like a headliner in a car. It is vinyl with thin foam padding that is attached with spray adhesive. The adhesive and foam degrades over time. I haven't found any leaks.

I made the van passenger side half door functional, mostly just to see if I could. I simply welded up the drivers side door. I only have two kids, but sometimes take others camping. I usually keep out the back two seats and have room for bikes, firewood, a grill, and up to eight people.
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Old 11-28-2014, 11:12 PM   #12
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I've never actually SEEN a front kitchen 34, but just a minor word of caution; I've read some threads about them being very light in the front so that they tow erratically. The "fix" was to add a big chunk of steel near the tongue to create more tongue weight. I think others may have added a second white water tank in the front - again same purpose - to increase the tongue weight.

I'd suggest you use the SEARCH - google sub-function to look at prior posts regarding the front kitchen 34. Yours has probably had the fix done long ago, but if not you've got the tow vehicle to manage it. I would load everything heavy well in front of the wheels just to make sure. Of course a trip to the weigh scales at a truck stop wouldn't hurt either.

Oh and welcome aboard - whatever weaknesses the front kitchen might have, I hear it's a great functional layout.

Paula
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Old 11-29-2014, 08:50 AM   #13
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Thanks for the advice. I do know that the best way to control sway is to have the trailer loaded correctly, with enough weight in the front. I have never had an issue with too much tongue weight. The back of my van only drops about an inch with a trailer on it. I have also read that front kitchen models can have too much tongue weight. In a standard layout, the couch is pretty much the only thing in the front. Mine has a refrigerator, steel sink, microwave, pots, pans, silverware, food, etc. There are also 4 batteries and a big Trace inverter under the front sink cabinet to add some weight. I towed the trailer about ten miles bringing it home with it just being on the hitch ( no bars )and it was fine. It did come with a Hensley Arrow hitch, but I took it off. I'll need to read more about how to set it up correctly. If I need more weight up front, I'll just strap down the kids there (just kidding).
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Old 11-29-2014, 09:52 AM   #14
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Keep the Hensley. Doesn't need WD to provide antisway. The trailer will track far better with it installed.
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